IBM plans new R&D lab in South Korea

IBM Corp. is to partner with the South Korean government and establish a research and development laboratory in Seoul that will concentrate on software for mobile communications devices and telematics applications.

Both IBM and the Ministry of Information and Communication’s (MIC) Institute of Information Technology Assessment plan to invest US$16 million in the centre over the next four years, they said in statements Friday. A signing ceremony for the lab was held in Seoul on Friday, the MIC said.

Around 70 staff members will be based at the lab including 25 researchers from IBM’s Korea Technology laboratory and 10 from the company’s Watson Research Center labs in New York and Massachusetts. Lee Hosoo, president of IBM Korea Technology Laboratory, will head the lab, which will be based in an IBM facility in the south of the South Korean capital.

IBM said it chose South Korea for the lab because of the country’s strong online culture. South Korea, which has a population of around 48 million, has one of the most advanced broadband infrastructures in the world and had 11.3 million broadband subscribers at the end of September, according to MIC figures.

Two months ago Intel Corp. said it would establish a research and development centre in South Korea before the end of this year. The Intel lab will work on technologies for the digital home and wireless communications, the company said.